On thursday I headed out early and took the train to Bruges. For the day I went on a tour to Flanders Fields that surrounds Ypres. During World War I this area was a major battleground on the western front. There were 12 stops on the tour at different memorials, battlefields, and cemeteries. At each site and while driving between sites the guide talked about the war and the significance of each site.
The second stop on the tour was at the Canadian St. Juliaan Memorial.
Even over 90 years after the end of the war, munitions and weaponry is still making it’s way to the surface. Our guide stopped at a farm where a few examples of these were set aside. A grenade, shell casing and shell.
For lunch the stop was at the Hooges Crater War Museum. Inside was the largest private collection of WWI era items.
In the city of Ypres the Menin Gate Memorial is a massive gate with the names of over 45,000 commonwealth soldiers that have no known grave.
The final stop on the tour was at the Essex Farm Cemetery / Dressing Station. During the war John McCrae was stationed her for a time. There is a plaque describing him and also the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
In the Cemetery there was the grave of V.J. Strudwick the youngest soldier to die on the western front at the age of 15.